Illinois License Hold on Out-of-State Residents

There are several scenarios under which an individual who presently resides in another state is required to apply to the Illinois Secretary of State for driving relief due to an Illinois revocation.

Individuals in this situation must obtain from the Illinois Secretary of State a reinstatement order that will clear them to obtain a license in their own state. Common circumstances under which an out-of-state resident may require this type of relief are:

  1. You are licensed in Illinois and commit an offense in this or any other state that causes Illinois to revoke your driving privileges. After you move to another state and attempt to obtain a driver's license, the licensing authorities will not issue you the license because of the Illinois revocation.

  2. You are licensed in Illinois and commit an offense in this or any other state that causes Illinois to revoke your driving privileges. In spite of the Illinois revocation, another state issues you a license. After having used the license from the other state for years without committing any serious offenses, for no apparent reason you receive a letter from the issuing state canceling or refusing to renew your license because of the Illinois revocation. The letter is usually generated because of the National Database and/or the Interstate Compact.

  3. You have never held an Illinois driver's license but received a DUI while driving in Illinois. As a result, another state refuses to issue you a license, or cancels, threatens to cancel or refuses to renew a license it previously issued.

In each of these instances, the licensing state is likely to require a reinstatement order from Illinois. The entire out-of-state reinstatement process can usually take place through the mail by use of an Illinois Secretary of State out-of-state packet, or you may have an in-person hearing.

For the most part, the documentation requirements for an out-of-state resident are the same as for an Illinois Resident. (See, Driver's License Reinstatement Procedures.) Nevertheless, out-of-state applications present some special challenges.

One frequent difficulty is that the evaluators in other states are not familiar with what the Illinois Secretary of State expects from the evaluators in the way of paperwork. This can be frustrating both to you and to your evaluator, since the Illinois Secretary of State will repeatedly reject paperwork that he does not consider satisfactory. A number of out-of-state evaluators refuse to provide services to individuals who are dealing with Illinois.

You are also required to complete an affidavit. The Secretary of State is particular about the information the affidavit must include.

You may become discouraged because the Secretary of State repeatedly rejects paperwork. The process works like this: The Secretary of State points out deficiencies in the paperwork submitted. You make corrections and furnish the new information to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State raises additional problems with the documentation - problems that he could have, but did not, bring up when the paperwork was returned the previous time. And so it goes, sometimes for several cycles.

Even once the Secretary of State determines that the paperwork meets the minimum technical requirements, he may deny driving relief. At the point that the Secretary of State denies driving relief, you must reapply.

It is not unusual for the entire process to require several rounds of paper exchanges and to drag out for a year or two. It is to your benefit to have the correct paperwork the first time.

Please note: If you have four or more DUI convictions, any one of which resulted from an arrest that was made after January 1, 1999, you are subject to the following rules before you may apply to clear the Illinois hold:

  1. It has been at least (10) years from the effective date of the most recent DUI. If the most recent DUI conviction arose in another state, begin counting the ten years from there, even if it is not recorded on your Illinois driving record;
  2. You must have a minimum of (3) years of uninterrupted abstinence from all substances (drugs and alcohol);
  3. If you ever established residency in the State of Illinois in the future, you would be subject to a new hearing and a lifetime of driving on a restricted permit with a breath machine.

If removing the hold Illinois has on your license is important to you, it is money well spent. We handle 50-100 of these cases every year and our success rate hovers around 98%.

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